My few pictures from the weekend are in the gallery.
On Sunday morning, Dylan, Ann and I headed out to the Nautilis to meet up with Sean and Collin for one more day of climbing. I don’t know about Ann, but I was still feeling pretty beat up that morning. Even on the short hike around to the NW side, my legs were fatigued, and my knees and ankles were aching. But I got in a couple of climbs anyway.
Cornelius (5.5) – As Ann led the first climb yesterday, I got on the first lead today. I’ve led this sweet little finger crack before, but it’s been well over a year now. I was really pleased with the climb, as I used about half as much gear as I usually do, and only took one little hang. Plus my TR anchor on top took only a couple of minutes to build, and it was awesome!
Ted’s Trot (5.7) – Dylan led up this climb while I was leading mine. Collin followed and cleaned it, and then I was volunteered to be third. Looking up at the gaping chimney above me, and seeing the rope run horizontally into the darkness; I didn’t really know if I was up to this one. But Dylan wanted another rope brought up, and I wanted to give it a try, so I did.
There were three times in this climb that I would normally have done everything I could think of to avoid them. The first one was this scary, dark, bad rope direction chimney. I kept thinking “If only there was a big bro up there…” But then, I knew that if there was a re-direct, that I would climb without problem. So, I decided to climb without problem without a re-direct. It’s all in my head… right? right!
The chimney was much easier than it looked, thanks to hidden cracks inside, and then the top section had an awesome 3-crack chimney. There were times when every part of my body was jamming a different crack, and somehow, I was doing chimney moves too. Loved that part. So classically ‘voo.
Then, there was the top. The crux of the climb is crawling out over a bulging chock-boulder that sits atop the chimney. There’s a fat fist-sized crack in there that both Dylan and Collin were able to hang on their fist jams while lifting their feet up onto the slab to the left. But, for me, it was waaay bigger than fists. I sat below this crack for a few minutes, just breathing and thinking. Below the roof, there was 100ft of air. The rope, again, seemed to run in a direction other than perfectly ideal. This was the second time that I really wanted to go down.
I was so close to finished, though! I’m not afraid to admit it, I used the rope a bit to get my balance below the crack. Then I reached up, and found a perfect handstack, left fist, right hand!! This was the first time that I’ve ever done a handstack, and it worked so well that I just stood there and stared at it for a few minutes. Dylan saw it and got a huge kick out of it. He said he wished he had a camera because it looked so nice. I managed to hang just long enough on that handstack to get my feet up on the slab. I moved my handstack up, moved my feet up, and I worked my way over the bulge this way.
Above the anchor, Dylan directed me to lead up over easy terrain to the very top of the formation. It was simple, but exposed, and wild, and I did it! Collin and I rapped off the top using the rope that I brought up, and that was the end of my adventure. I was really proud of pushing through these little things that normally would have just blown up to ruin the whole climb.
After this, I was done for the day. Collin lead up Cornelius as his first Ved lead, and then Ann jumped on a lead of Easy Jams (5.4). She got about halfway up when the thunder and lightening started crashing around us, and the rain started coming down. She lowered off, and we all took shelter in a little cave. The rain blew by pretty quickly, and Collin decided to finish the lead afterwards.
After watching Collin enjoy the fat crack in the corner, I packed up my stuff, called the dog and hiked out. The skies above Vedauwoo were dark and ominous, and I headed home across the windy Wyoming plains.